Samsung wants to dole out $ 2 million to prizes to highlight creative designs in science, technology, engineering and math problem-solving skills that also incorporate the arts.
The Solve for Tomorrow competition is open to students in 6th through 12th grades.
“What we’re really looking for is something that they’re going to be able to execute, and something that is really making an impact on their communities,” said Bree Falato, program manager for corporate citizenship. “It’s looking at creative approaches to solving these issues.”
In previous years, students from all over the country have submitted projects that, for instance, focus on creating smartwatch apps to prevent kids from being injured or killed in car accidents, or a solar-powered electric car charging station. Students from a school in San Jose, California created a practical water solution for droughts in their state using Tupperware – and they were able to try their new tool out on their teacher’s backyard to see that it worked.
“They took a very low-cost solution and were able to make a really sophisticated device,” said Falato.
Teachers can enter the contest online through Nov. 15 by submitting a project idea that encourages their students to use STEAM skills to solve an issue in their community.
“By integrating STEAM into the conversation, we’re going to generate new ways for them to have a creative approach while also integrating the arts,” said Falato.
Finalist schools from each state – which will also receive tablets and $25,000 in technology for their schools – will receive seed funding from Samsung to go on to the next round, and they will also be able to crowdsource for more resources.
Students will also be able to advocate for a local charity of their choice and a winning donation for the charity.
Last year, there were five national winners. This year, Falato said, they will offer prizes to three schools along with a community choice winner. Seven national finalists will receive $50,000 each, and the three winners will be awarded $150,000 each in technology. The finalists have to make a pitch in-person in New York to a live audience.
“When collaboration and creativity intersects with science and technology, we have discovered that students are able to have a far greater impact on their local communities through Solve for Tomorrow projects,” said Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship, Samsung Electronics America.
“This year, the program will expand to more schools, enabling students to develop truly innovative ideas that have the potential to change the world as we know it,” she said.
Since 2004, Samsung has provided more than $19 million in technology to more than 1,000 public schools in the United States, according to officials.